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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW


Robert Clegg

In 2019 aged care residents at Oberon Multi-Purpose Service (MPS) joined an innovative arts in health programme- ‘Rolling With it’- that merged visual art and performance to create collaborative artworks over a five-week period.

In the workshops art materials, including paint, paint rollers, paper, pencils and notebooks, were used to build skills, experiment and problem solve as a way to foster meaningful connections.

Combining visual art and performance practices was a step by step process that facilitated the transformation of artworks into ‘props’ such as balls or rolled-up 2D artworks,that were then used as objects of play. This extension created subtle links between the visual and performing arts practices.

The transformation of art materials into ‘props’ formed the basis of movement workshops; ‘get to know you’ games, and improvisations. Conversation flowed as people rolled, tossed or caught the ball, passed the baton; or challenged a friend to duel. Playful, fun and engaging ‘Rolling With It’ disrupted the idea of what artworks are and how they can be used as tools for meaningful social connection.

The success of the workshops at Oberon MPS continues online and has grown into a Western NSW Local Health District workshop series called ‘Virtual Art Snacks’, funded by the Regional Arts Fund.

Dr John Rae of the School of Biomedical Sciences at Charles Sturt University evaluated ‘Rolling’, and his report forms the basis of new research Art OutWest are conducting into the value of virtual art workshops in rural and regional Multi-purpose Services.

Read the full evaluation by Dr John Rae of the School of Biomedical Sciences at Charles Sturt University

It is concluded here that the very thoughtful planning and implementation of Rolling by Arts OutWest, the artists and MPS staff led a productive experience of participating residents of the Oberon MPS, and it hard to imagine that this program would not have enhanced the residents’ lives. – Dr John Rae


‘Rolling With It’ was part of an ongoing relationship with Oberon MPS. The ‘Art Group’ project of weekly arts activity is supported by volunteers from Oberon Arts Council who have also won an award for this work.

Images on this page: Main – Dr John Rae, Kate Smith, Christine McMillan playing with techniques for the research. Bottom – images from ‘Rolling with it’ at Oberon Multi-Purpose Service.

Christine McMillan
Christine McMillan
Arts and Health Coordinator
Kate Smith
Arts & Health Projects and Research Officer

Strategic areas: arts and health

Location: Oberon Multi-Purpose Health Service (MPS)

When: Activity: 2019-2020. Research 2020-2021.

Wider project: Virtual Art Snacks (funded by the Regional Arts Fund Renewal)

Funded by: CSU Community University Partnerships, Mazda Foundation, Oberon Council through Oberon Arts Council

Partnering with: Western NSW Local Health District, Oberon Arts Council

Team for Arts OutWest: Christine McMillan and Kate Smith

With researcher/ artist: Dr John Rae, School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University

Doris smiled at me today. And so I started moving her arm and working out which
arm was the best, and I put a paintbrush in her hand and one day she started
painting. She started making small marks and people had thought that she wasn’t
able to do anything.